Although negotiation should always be the first approach for changing the contractual terms of staff, there are times when it may not work. For example, when relocating offices, employers must consult with employees about the move and their new work location, even though they may have a contractual right to change the work location. Employers need to consult with staff and consider the impact of the move on each employee carefully. Consultation should allow for meaningful feedback, where employers listen to affected employees and seek ways to avoid the change. Employers have two choices when employees refuse to move; they can offer redundancy or terminate workers’ employment and offer a new contract with new terms and conditions, including the new office location. Employees also have options, such as accepting redundancy, accepting the new contract on offer, or bringing a claim for constructive dismissal. The Code of Practice on Dismissal and Re-engagement, developed in response to the P&O case, sets out minimum standards of behavior for employers that must be met, and failure to comply may result in an employment tribunal case. The code requires employers to revisit their business strategy during the consultation process to avoid a fire and rehire scenario. Employers can avoid fire and rehire by seeking alternatives, such as redundancy or changes for new employees. When making changes for new employees, employers must be aware of the risk of age discrimination. It is essential to consult and negotiate with employees to avoid conflict and maintain positive business relationships.
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